surgery day: 12.19.17
Sorry that I am just posting my update as I have been home resting and healing while putting the finishing touches on Christmas. But I am already feeling stronger with some additional energy!
The night before surgery:
As you can all imagine, I didn't sleep too great the night before surgery as I was extremely nervous and really not mentally prepared for this dramatic change in my body.
But my Mom ended up staying the night to help with the littles the next morning. We all got up and got the kids ready for their last week of school then my mother-in-law and Dad came by to see me and watch our morning routine with the babies.
Everyone was dressed and out the door and then I realized I was in the house by myself, quiet, alone, and in deep thought and the questions started......how was I going to look? Will they be able to remove all the cancer? How are the littles going to be? I am not ready to sit on the couch and be sick for days? Do I have to do this?????? Why ME????
This time alone in the morning was good for me. Good for me to pray with my Grandmother's rosary, have one last talk with Jesus, & then a calming feeling came over me. I will fight this and I will be better!!
So there it was 9:45, packed, in the car and on the way to the hospital....... *gulp*
Darren and my Mom joined me at check in, sat with me until my name was called, and then one by one they were allowed to come say good-bye to me while I was getting prepped for surgery. They gave me my medical bracelet with my age and name, I am allergic to laytex so I have an allergy red band, and then they placed a pink band that I had never seen before on my right wrist. It said limb removal. Goodness...I almost lost it. This is a new one for me! Scary.
My surgeon and plastic surgeon came into check on me and both made me feel very comfortable. I liked seeing them.
Dr K, plastic surgeon, took out his marker and drew all over my chest. He was aligning my breasts and showing me where the incisions/scares would be. We talked in detail about the surgery and then he said, "See ya in the operating room!" Glad he was feeling good as I wasn’t quite there yet.
The tears started to fall again as I held my breast in my hand, anxious, and knowing it would be gone in a couple of hours.
Darren and Mom left and it was just me again. Ugh. Trying not to get into my head too much but deep breathing, meditating, and thinking of the awful cancer being out of my body. Trying to concentrate on the real reason I was there...... to GET THE CANCER out! And I want it GONE.
12:45 PM: They wheeled me back into the operating room and began to do their introductions and details on the procedure. I enjoy this part as the Doctors, Nurses, and Anesthesiologist say a sweet personal message to me, making me very comfortable. The whole time, my surgeon was holding me hand and confirming that I had the best team, & boy do I! He said...."OK Jess.....It's go time".....
.....and 5 hours later surgery was over. I was in recovery, groggy, and talking a little to a very sweet nurse. She said I was such a nice patient that she didn't want to let me go. That was nice to wake up too! Another angel watching over me.
They wheeled me back to see my mom and Darren. Both in the room with smiles on their faces. The surgery had been a success as both surgeons had come to connect with them while I was still in recovery.
1. The mastectomy went smoothly and they were able to clear all my margins (margins are markers where the cancer was & ensuring all was removed during surgery!!)
2. They removed 2 lymph nodes and tested them while I was on the operating room. NO LYMPH NODE involvement. I can't be more happy about this. The cancer hasn't spread and no radiation! This also means reconstruction will be easier.
3. Expander was successful with placement
4. I opted out of the chemo port as the more I thought about it and discussed with my surgeon, we both agreed that this can be done later to when chemotherapy actually starts.
As you can imagine I was incredibly sore the first 24 hours, barely moving, and laying in those ridiculously uncomfortable hospital beds. My chest was INTENSE as I couldn't even take in a deep breath. Man this hurts!
Pain meds please!!
I was so uncomfortable; I got sick a couple of times from the medicine, and tried to get comfortable. If anyone has had surgery lately you know they place those leg massagers on you to make sure your circulation stays (no blood clots) and I was still connected to my IV. This made me very claustrophobic. Ugh...get me out of here!
You all know me quite well and if you didn't know, I have a very high threshold for pain...like BRING IT. But WHOA..... I was suffering!!
I finally stood up to potty and thought I was going to pass out. But I made it. Then the 2nd and 3rd time was a little easier and I decided to take a little walk around the room. Felt freeing to be up & slooooooowly walking.
I slept as much as I could, stayed ahead of my pain with my medicine, and woke up around 5:30am.
I ate a little something around 7am, which helped me a lot with my nausea. More vitals, more meds, more trips around the room. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Both surgeons came into check on me and were thrilled with my results. So great to hear as we wait for the final prognosis from my surgery. I slowly peeked at my chest as they poked around to look at my swelling and bruising. Not too shabby and scary.
I still couldn't quite get comfortable in the hospital bed and was getting pretty upset. I wasn't one to complain about this but the bed was pulled on my back, which was was pulling my chest. OUGH!
They decided to release me around 2:30pm on 12.20.17. Holy Shit I was nervous. But I knew being in my own home would be best for me to get comfortable.
By 3:00, I was home and comfortable on the couch. Ice packs on, medicine, and my own home. Thank Goodness. I must have gotten an increase in adreline as I was feeling really good and sitting up talking away.
My littles got home around 5:00 and came to cuddle with me. Scarlett wanted to see it and Miles was a little scared of my drain....oh yes- I had one drain placed to help with fluids. I watched some TV with them and then drifted off to sleep.
To be expected, the first 48 hours were INTENSE but I slowly started to already feel stronger and glad that the awful cancer was out!
Already so many people reaching out for updates, love, support, meals ( SO YUMMY!), and prayers.
I am good everyone! Strong. Happy. Healthy. Surrounded by Love.
Still living day by day and step one (surgery) is complete as I know there are still so many steps to go. But I am still at peace and hey....I still have a little cleavage! :)
PS....this is a picture that Scarlett drew of my new chest. Unbelievable her little imagination in drawing. The spots on my breast are my moles and freckles. Love her! Isn't this crazy?!